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Xavier Chevrin recently began a journey through Africa in an electric Citroën Berlingo to ...

Xavier Chevrin is no stranger to extended EV adventures. In 2008, he rode an electric scooter between Paris, France and Almaty in Kazakhstan, and two years later he set the record for the longest distance traveled in an electric vehicle by taking a Venturi-powered electric Citroën Berlingo van from Shanghai in China to Paris, notching up some 13,400 km (8,326 miles) in the process – but costing less than 200 dollars for the whole trip. Now he's set off on an African adventure that will take him from Nairobi to Johannesburg – a distance of around 4,800 km (just short of 3,000 miles) – in about six weeks, charging the vehicle as he stops to chat with locals along the way.  Read More

Possible model of the Sahara Solar Breeder Project

This is ambition with a capital A. Universities in Japan and Algeria have teamed up on a project that aims to solve the world’s energy problems. Called the Sahara Solar Breeder Project, the plan is to build manufacturing plants around the Sahara Desert and extract silica from sand to make solar panels, which will then be used to build solar power plants in the desert. The power generated by the initial plant or plants would be used to “breed” more silicon manufacturing and solar power plants, which will in turn be used to breed more again, and so on. The ultimate goal is to build enough plants to provide 50 percent of the world’s electricity by 2050, which would be delivered via a global superconducting supergrid.  Read More

Concentrating solar mirrors are one potential technology to be used in the proposed 5GW so...

Laying claim to “what will be the world’s largest solar power plant” is difficult these days with so many in development, but the Texas-based Fluor corporation is drawing up plans for a five gigawatt (GW) plant in South Africa that would certainly make it amongst the world’s largest. The company has been selected to perform a feasibility study for the potential solar park to be built on the edge of the Kalahari Desert in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa – an area the South African government says is among the sunniest three percent of regions in the world.  Read More

The Zambulance provides medical transportation to people in developing nations

According to a recent study, over 60 percent of people in developing countries live more than eight kilometers (five miles) from a healthcare facility. As you can imagine, most of these people don’t own cars, or even have access to motorized ambulance services. When they require urgent medical attention, they often have to walk, are loaded into an ox cart or wheelbarrow, or have to sit on the rack of a bicycle. Fortunately, however, an alternative is available to some – the Zambulance. While the bicycle trailer/ambulance might seem like very basic medical transportation, early trials indicate that it’s truly life-saving.  Read More

Andrew Miller's Global Focus microscope

The World Health Organization estimates that 1.3 million people worldwide died from tuberculosis in 2008. It’s definitely a disease to be taken seriously, so when people in remote locations are being tested for it, it’s best if they don’t have to wait for their samples to be processed at a distant lab. That’s why medical device designer Andrew Miller, when he was still an undergraduate at Houston’s Rice University, developed the portable, battery-operated Global Focus fluorescence microscope. In a paper published this Wednesday, Miller and his co-authors described how the $US240 Global Focus is able to detect TB-positive sputum smears just as well as laboratory microscopes worth over $40,000.  Read More

Spencer Conway on the beaten track in Africa with his trusty Yamaha XT 660 Z Tenere

There's no doubt in our mind that Spencer Conway's solo circumnavigation of Africa by motorbike will offer more than enough dramatic material for a hollywood film, if not at least a television reprise of Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman's Long Way Down. At time of writing, Spencer has been on the road for 134 days, 23 hours, 58 minutes and counting, since leaving Biddenden, Kent on November 1st 2009. His route will take him clockwise around the outer countries of Africa and will cover 60,000km in total. The project, sponsored by Swaziland-born Richard E. Grant aims to raise UK£28,000 (US$42,000) for charity organization Save the Children, and so far he has traveled across 28 countries, through 30 borders, and biked 27,000km.  Read More

The Calfee Design Bamboo road racing bike

We’ve seen bikes with frames made out of aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber, and even IsoTruss tubes, but bamboo? Well yes, actually, we saw some here in Gizmag just last May. Back then, we were looking at some fairly basic city bikes built by Brazilian designer Flavio Deslandes. This time around the bamboo bikes are decidedly higher-end creations, built by Californian designer Craig Calfee, of Calfee Design. Although these bikes are definitely high-end, he’s also working on using bamboo to provide employment and cheap transportation for the people of Ghana.  Read More

A young lad tests out the prototype sOccket power-generating soccer ball in a Durban, Sout...

What kid doesn’t like kicking around a soccer ball? Imagine if this fun activity could also provide enough energy to power something useful in a modest off-grid African village, like a reliable light to cook by or an emergency mobile phone. The sOccket is a prototype soccer ball that captures kinetic energy when it is kicked or thrown, stores it in an internal battery and makes that energy available for a myriad of small but useful purposes. In other words, it’s a fun, portable energy-harvesting power source that is designed to take a kicking.  Read More

The Solaqua uses UV and infrared rays from the sun to kill pathogens in contaminated water

While clean, safe water is in short supply in much of Africa, there's no shortage of sun. The Solaqua is a nifty portable device that uses the sun's rays to purify contaminated water. Through innovative use of readily available materials, it carries, disinfects and stores water, providing a safe, environmentally sustainable source of water for rural communities.  Read More

Emily spent five months living in Namibia during her Gap Year
 Image: www.emilycummins.co....

Solar powered devices aren’t new, but English student Emily Cummins has developed a way of using the sun’s power to help impoverished communities in Africa. Her eco-friendly, sustainable fridge is based on a simple principle: it uses the sun’s rays to evaporate water, which in turn keeps the contents cool.  Read More

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